Category Archives: Don Frye

Dear Don Is Back

I posted a new installment of Dear Don on the IFL site today. I recommend giving it a read. Don’s been a tough guy to get a hold of recently what with all his pro wrestling engagements in Japan, fistfights in hotel lobbies, and busy appearance schedule across the country, hence the long layoff.  Fortunately, we had a productive conversation last night that should yield several more editions.

It also came out in this conversation that I have never seen “The Searchers”, starring John Wayne. Don seemed both baffled and angered by this, which is basically Don’s reaction to most things pertaining to my generation. I’ll have to Netflix it.

Read the latest Dear Don here.


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New Dear Don at

Don FryeThe new edition of Dear Don: Advice from “The Predator” is on the IFL website today. In case you’re not familiar with the internet’s most popular MMA-related advice column, allow me to fill you in. Dear Don is where average jerks write in with questions about their sad, sad lives, and Don tells them what to do, or at the very least what he would do. I don’t know if these people actually heed the advice, because much of it would lead to incarceration and/or being outcast from society, but some of it is genuinely good and, occasionally, touching.

In this edition Don gives advice on dealing with a pretty girl who’s not all that smart, transitioning from an amateur to a pro as an MMA fighter, and of course, growing the perfect mustache.

You should check it out. If you’re not a total pussy. Hell, even if you are. You probably need to hear this stuff more than most.

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Filed under Dear Don, Don Frye, IFL, MMA, Sports

The Rumors Are True

Today Sam Caplan announced that I will now be a contributing writer for his MMA blog, 5 oz. of Pain. As I’ve mentioned on here before, I’ve been a big fan of the site since I first saw his articles on CBS Sportsline, so it’s an honor and a privilege to write for it.

As most of you know, I’m also the editor of the IFL web site, but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to write about the IFL for them.  Sam does a good, fair job of that himself, and I love to write about the other organizations just as much (hence this blog).  I know some people might assume I can’t possibly write impartially about the UFC, but the truth is I love the UFC and watch it every chance I get.  Who among us would be MMA fans without them?  I also watch the smaller orgs, like WEC and Bodog and Pro Elite and anything else I can find.  The more competition the better, for the fighters and the fans, though the UFC will always be the beating heart at the center of the MMA world.

This doesn’t mean The Fighting Life is going away. Let’s not panic or anything. This blog — unlike your parents, who never really loved you — isn’t going anywhere. This just means that there is now one more place where you can read my musings on MMA, which means the world is a little bit better today than it was yesterday. Though in all fairness, yesterday wasn’t so great.

In other news, the new edition of Through the Past Darkly (one of the more popular recurring features on is up on the site today. The most popular recurring feature, Dear Don: Advice from the Predator, should make a triumphant return later this week. Don and I have been hard at work on a new column, and when I say hard at work I mean I called Don with some questions and he rattled off some utterly hilarious responses, most of which I can’t publish due to obscenity guidelines.

The strange thing about working on that column with Don Frye, who is something of a hero of mine, is that I always think I know what he’s going to say to each question, but I’m usually wrong.  As much as Don sometimes seems like a walking stereotype of the hyper-masculine man, sometimes he actually gives good advice.  Sure, a lot of it basically amounts to, “stop being a pussy”, but don’t we all need someone to say that to us every once in a while?

The new edition will feature one such instance of Don’s deceptively good advice, and perhaps an answer to one of the many mustache-related questions we get every week.  You’ll just have to wait and see.

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Filed under Don Frye, IFL, MMA, Sam Caplan, Sports, UFC

Liddell Talks Retirement (But I’m Not Buying It)

Following his decision loss to Keith Jardine (who has reclaimed full “Dean of Mean” status with the victory), former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell is said to be considering retirement. According to trend-follower Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports!, UFC president Dana White spoke about the possibility of Liddell hanging up his gloves.

“There’s a hunger thing that you have to have to be an elite fighter and I just didn’t see a Chuck Liddell who was as hungry as he used to be,” White reportedly told Iole. “Chuck has made a lot of money in this business and he’s done a lot of things, but he wasn’t the Chuck of old.”

It’s not such a crazy notion when you consider that Liddell has been competing in the UFC since before they had timed rounds. He’ll be thirty-eight in December, which is typically when hand speed and punching power starts to fade. For someone like Randy Couture, that might not mean much, but Liddell is a striker who has always relied on those skills. If he can’t hit harder and faster than everyone else, Liddell becomes just another guy with good footwork and takedown defense.

But I have a hard time believing Liddell will never set foot in the Octagon again. If history is any indicator (and if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t keep deferring to it and refusing to learn from it), Liddell will probably have to be all but forced into retirement.

Great athletes almost always have a difficult time knowing when to quit, and professional fighters are the most notorious for keeping at it long after they should. Consider boxing greats like Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis and George Foreman.

Think about MMA legends like Ken Shamrock and Kazushi Sakuraba and Royce Gracie, even my unofficial life coach Don Frye.

They all kept at it past their prime. They all had to be shepherded into retirement by the fists of younger fighters. It’s hard to watch a hero take beatings he should have never signed up for, and it’s even harder to understand why he can’t see that his skills have deteriorated when everyone else can.

But in a way, it makes sense. I remember interviewing Ken Shamrock and asking him why he kept going for so long when he didn’t particularly need the money, and what he told me was very enlightening and endearing.

He said that a champion fighter has to have a certain personality that makes him push through things a normal person can’t. He has to be the kind of guy who can break his hand on an opponent’s skull and keep swinging. He has to view quitting as an unforgivable sin. If he didn’t, he’d never have become a champion in the first place.

That’s why, when the ravages of age begin to show themselves, he can’t see it for what it is. He thinks it’s one more hardship that he has to push through. He’s always been able to do it before, so his mind isn’t programmed to believe that there is an injury or a setback so debilitating as to be final.

It’s something you either have or you don’t, and champions have it. It’s also a tragic gift when age catches up with you. Sure, some guys — Randy Couture, for one — defy the odds, but many more succumb to them.

Think about the great heavyweight boxing champions of the last hundred years. How many of them retired before some sad spectacle in the ring? Lennox Lewis, maybe. And Rocky Marciano, who is still the only heavyweight champ to retire undefeated.

Marciano once said that he knew it was time to quit when the smell of the gym began to make him sick. He said that smell of old sweat and leather and mildew had always been strangely pleasant to him before, but one day he went in to train and it disgusted him. And that was it. He never fought again.

I think that may be what Dana White is referring to in regards to Liddell’s hunger. That hunger to fight and compete and win is something you can’t force and you can’t fake. If that fire isn’t burning in Liddell anymore, then he should call it quits. But I have to think that a man who’s been a top-level fighter for so many years is going to have a hard time letting go of that identity.

Who knows, maybe Liddell has a few more good years left in him. Couture found a second life in his forties, so it’s not unheard of. Only Liddell knows for sure. Something tells me, though, that a decision loss to Keith Jardine isn’t going to be definitive enough for him. Not while Wanderlei Silva — Liddell’s white whale — is still out there.

Liddell is going to have to find out for himself if he can still compete. For most great fighters, it’s a question they can’t stop asking, even after the answer is clearly no.

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Filed under Chuck Liddell, Dana White, Don Frye, Keith Jardine, Ken Shamrock, MMA, Randy Couture, Sports, UFC